Posts Tagged ‘kick-ass

08
Jul
10

“Kick-Ass” and Take Names

Or was that ass-kicked?

Starring Aaron Johnson, Clark Duke, Evan Peters, Lyndsy Fonseca, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloe Moretz, and Nicolas Cage. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.

I will say it over and over again: I’m not a huge fan of the superhero genre. For every good superhero movie (“Superman,” “Batman,” “Spider-Man”) there are the less-than-stellar attempts at bringing others to the silver screen (“Daredevil,” “Hulk”) as well as attempts to resurrect a franchise (“Superman Returns,” “The Incredible Hulk”). And let’s not forget the made-up/not so renown ones (“Blankman,” “Steele”). I’m writing this on the eve of “Iron Man 2,” which I suspect will be the popcorn blockbuster that the first entirely was and that’s fine with me.

“Kick-Ass” is based on a darker graphic novel and follows Dave Lizewski, your Peter Parker-ish high school quintessential 98+ pound weakling. He’s in love with the beautiful but impossible to have Katie Deauxma (Fonseca). His two best friends Marty (Duke) and Todd (Peters) hang out with him each day at Atomic Comics. Dave’s life is the epitome of boring and mundane: he goes to school, his dad goes to work, they eat the same brand knock-off cereal, etc. In short, blah.

Out of this stagnation comes a twisted idea: what if he became a superhero, like in the comic books? His friends dismiss it saying that it would be crazy. Unless a person happened to be like Batman or whoever else why would anyone want to do it? Again, crazy idea. But not for Dave…

Hopping on the Net he orders a green with yellow trim wetsuit and some batons. He adopts the name Kick-Ass and in the beginning he’s more the reverse: his ass gets kicked. He has no fighting skills or training or cache of money to rely on. This doesn’t deter him because he has the one thing that superheroes need: a heart. After an attempt to thwart carjackers leaves him bleeding from a stab wound, as well as getting hit by a car, he emerges from the hospital with enough metal inside him to rival Wolverine. This clinches his idea of becoming a superhero.

Enter the main bad guy, lumber supplier and drug kingpin Frank D’Amico (Strong). After a deal goes bad Kick-Ass is to blame and becomes his personal center of revenge. The kingpin’s son, Chris (Mintz-Plasse), concocts a plan to get close to Kick-Ass by becoming a superhero himself.

Kick-Ass finds allies in Hit Girl (Moretz) and Big Daddy (Cage). Big Daddy had been a cop who refused to bend to D’Amico and became framed. Sent to prison for five years his then wife OD’d on drugs but lived long enough to give birth to their daughter, Mindy. Mindy and father become reunited after he’s released whereby she becomes Hit Girl and he Big Daddy. Their mission: bring down D’Amico.

I’ll leave the story description there because let’s face it: you’ve seen the plot points before. What makes this movie differ from the rest is that it knows the source material that came before it and plays to the audience. Dave narrates the film with that “I’m telling you but you should probably already figure it out” sense of sarcasm. He knows that he doesn’t have the Batman story of revenge, or the Spider-Man story of being bitten by a radioactive spider. He knows and comes to terms with the fact that superheroes grace comic books for a reason: they are in an alternate reality. By finding his own humanity he does manage to become a superhero which is just as good.

My thoughts? I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. When Nicholson in “Batman,” exclaimed, “What this town needs is an enema,” he may as well have been talking about the superhero genre. After knowing the backstories to every-other Marvel or DC character and knowing the story arcs, we’ve become so accustomed to how the story is supposed to play out that all we can do is venture whether or not this set of characters did it well.

And these do. Kick-Ass goes from being the high school dork to superhero sensation. He befriends others trying to help the cause. He fights the bad guy and wins. And, there’s the offspring of a future nemesis.

Aside from this, “Kick-Ass” is a film I would suggest to young filmmaker wannabes/gonnabes because there are so many styles put into this film. Director Matthew Vaughn’s debut movie was “Layer Cake,” but this plays closer to “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” and “Snatch,” both movies he produced with Guy Ritchie. For those who miss the sense of humor those movies had in Ritchie’s current work check this one out; you’ll find the person it came from. Whether the movie plays like Ang Lee’s “Hulk,” or like “A Scanner Darkly,” or even like a video game, it keeps you on your toes for what to expect. It may not be the greatest achievement in film but I can liken it to “Kill Bill Vol. 1” in terms of mashing together various styles.

Aaron Johnson does a great job at being the high school dork-come-superhero with heart and I expect that he’ll get a lot more work because of it. I’m not going to guess what his range is but he played the part perfectly. Nic Cage does an interesting turn as Big Daddy, a Batman wannabe down to his lookalike custom and Adam West-pregnant pausing sentences.

The real thing about this movie is Mindy/Hit Girl. She’s twelve, cusses worse than a sailor, and could out-John Woo any situation. A lethal killing machine that hasn’t even gotten to high school yet. I’ve heard friends say that this is controversial in other cities and maybe they’re talking about it here. But hey guys: it’s just a movie. Sit back, relax, and try to have fun watching it.

I wish I could recommend this to everybody but I know that tastes vary and that there will be a lot of people offended by this one. So I’ll recommend this one to those who love superhero movies, those who like them, and those who are all about satire.

My grade: B+

Chas Andrews is a freelance writer, blogger, movie critic, what-have-you. Check out his hardboiled crime tale, The Big Adios, at http://aidencobb.blogspot.com

Advertisements
27
Nov
09

Movie News and Views November 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

“Edge of Darkness” – Mel Gibson is a cop whose daughter’s death is cover-up by the government. He teams with a hit man (Ray Winstone) and sets out to avenge her death. Opens January 29, 2010

“Dear John” – Channing Tatum is a young soldier who, one summer, falls for Amanda Seyfried. The write each other over the next seven years as he takes increasingly dangerous missions. Opens February 5, 2010

“Remember Me” – “Twilight” brooder Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin in a story about two people who fall in love amidst their family tragedies. Also stars Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper. Opens March 12, 2010

“Clash of the Titans” – Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, and Liam Neeson star in this remake of the 80’s tribute to Ray Harryhausen and Greek mythology. Opens March 26, 2010

“How to Train Your Dragon” – Based on the Cressida Cowell children’s book about a Viking kid who adopts a scrawny, toothless dragon. Opens March 26, 2010

“Babies” – The babies are coming! Documentary tracking four babies from different spots around the world from birth to their first steps. Opens April 16, 2010

“Kick-Ass” – Based on the Marvel Comic about a high school dweeb who decides to become a superhero despite the fact that he has no special powers or abilities. Trouble arises when he meets real bad guys with real bullets. Opens April 16, 2010

“Date Night” – Steve Carell and Tina Fey are the Fosters, a married couple with little private time. They schedule a “date night” and upon taking someone else’s dinner reservations find themselves mixed-up with the wrong people. Also stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, and Mark Wahlberg. Opens April 9, 2010

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” – Jake Gyllenhaal plays the title character in a movie based on the popular video game. Also stars Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina, and Ben Kingsley. Opens May 28, 2010

“Grown Ups” – Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider in a comedy about a group of friends coming together years later. Opens June 25, 2010

“Despicable Me” – Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is the World’s #2 Supervillain with dreams of world domination and stealing the moon. His plans are interrupted when he meets three orphaned girls who look up to him to be a potential dad. Also starring the voices of Jason Segel, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, and Danny McBride. Opens July 9, 2010

“The Expendables” – Sly Stallone and Company are mercenaries on a mission to overthrow a South American dictator. Also stars Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Brittany Murphy, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, and Bruce Willis. I’ve also heard that Ah-nuld is in it… Opens August 20, 2010